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Monday, December 31, 2012

Know Your Foe - South Carolina

The Wolverines close their 133rd season on New Year’s Day when they take on South Carolina in the Hall Of Fame corporate-steakhouse-chain bowl. This will be only the third meeting between the schools - each team has beaten the other on their opponent’s turf so it’s only appropriate that this rubber match is on neutral grounds. Michigan hasn’t played the Gamecocks since 1985 which was before the MZone, before many MZone readers were fans, hell, before many MZone readers were born. So you may be wondering, who are these South Carolinians and what should we know about them? To answer these and many other questions, the MZone is proud to present this year's special bowl edition of KNOW YOUR FOE.

History – The University of South Carolina (also known as USC or SC - no not that USC or SC – or Carolina – no, not that Carolina), was founded in late 1801 as South Carolina College to “promote harmony between the Lowcountry and the Backcountry.” For those not familiar, the lowcountry is the southeastern part of the state, along the Atlantic while the backcountry is the northwest portion, now known as Upstate. The first classes were held in 1805 with an enrollment of nine students.

But like every other school in the South, USC’s history was abruptly altered by the Civil War. Enrollment had grown to 72 in 1862, but all of those students volunteered for the Confederate army in March. The college temporarily closed and then opened to those under 18 which brought the enrollment to, again, nine. At that point the college was closed down and converted into a hospital. The campus was likely spared destruction because of its status as a hospital, preserving the historic Horseshoe which serves as the center of campus.

The college re-opened in 1866 and was converted to the University of South Carolina in 1865. Unlike so many schools in the South, USC had a measure of racial equity as racial discrimination was prevented in admissions, and two black trustees were part of the governing board in 1869. The first black student was admitted in 1873, decades ahead of most other Southern schools.

Location – Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia is the state capital and with a population around 130,000, the largest city in South Carolina. Located smack dab in the middle of the Palmetto State, Columbia enjoys a diversified economy highlighted by the state government, healthcare, and the university. It also hosts a diversified list of famous natives, from actors Aziz Ansari and Kristin Davis to musical acts Hootie and the Blowfish, and Toro Y Moi, to NBAers Tyrone Corbin and Alex English.
Amazingly, this isn’t the only Columbia to host a major university, and it’s not even unique in the conference. The most amazing feature of Columbia, however, is how freaking hot and humid it gets in the summer. KYF found ourselves in Columbia a few Junes ago when the mercury topped out near 110 and the humidity was almost as high. Wearing the dark colors of the university is a death wish under those conditions.

Nickname – Gamecocks. One of the most unique nicknames, not just in college athletics but all of sports, its origins for USC are somewhat obscure. Some sources claim it was borne as an honor to Thomas Sumter, a South Carolina native and Revolutionary War hero. A British general commented that Sumter “fought like a gamecock.” Whether that’s the case, the university’s teams had several nicknames until 100 years ago. In 1902, USC upset rival Clemson and students and fans paraded through the streets of Columbia holding a transparency drawn by a math professor by the name of – we kid you not – Horton Colcock. Two weeks later, newspaper reports began referring to the team as the “Game Cocks”. The two words were joined a couple of years later and the nickname has stuck since. KYF longs for the day when a man named Horton Colcock would be considered a hero and a man of letters, rather than the subject of relentless and horrendous ridicule.

A gamecock, of course, is a type of rooster that was often used for cockfighting in which the roosters fought to the death. Though cockfighting is legal throughout many regions of the world, it’s been illegal in the United States since Louisiana became the last state to outlaw it in 2008. Cockfighting was a central plot point of The Little Jerry episode of Seinfeld as well as the Chicken George character in Roots. The South Carolina Gamecocks have entered pop culture most predominantly on baseball caps worn by many a frat boy with the shortened ‘Cocks adorning the front.

Mascot – Cocky. The costumed version of a cartoon gamecock made his official debut for the university in 1980. For the previous two years USC had a costumed mascot named Big Spur, but it was considered too big and unwieldy so Cocky was created as Big Spur’s son. Cocky was met with immediate derision and not considered dignified enough for the university. Look at him – I guess the measure of dignified has changed over time. Cocky started small after the ridicule, becoming the mascot for the women’s teams and the baseball team and slowly took over for Big Spur. Hear that Dave Brandon? Just introduce some abomination of a mascot and plow through. Eventually everyone will accept and even love it, no matter how undignified.

He’s won a mascot “National Championship” four times and has had two of his portrayers move on to professional sports – one as Billy the (Florida) Marlin and one as Sir Purr, the Carolina Panthers' mascot. So South Carolina could be considered “Mascot U.” Cocky has become such a strong representative of the university that one of the most active on-line message boards is Cockytalk.com. Just be careful that you type that into your browser correctly.

Colors – Garnet and Black. KYF has gone over the whole red/scarlet/cardinal/crimson thing many times before. But South Carolina doesn’t really fall into that group of red teams. Garnet is clearly a much darker shade of red and is more maroon than red. Only one other team uses garnet as an official color (Florida State) and so South Carolina’s colors, though a little dark together, are quite unique. And when combined with the bright white of the helmets, this is an excellent combination. The combo of Garnet and Black is used by the school and its fans as a rallying cry, much the same way Maize and Blue is used for Michigan.

The school’s teams have always used the color combination as they date back to 1895 when a banner was presented to the football team that contained the colors.

Logo/Helmet – The South Carolina helmet has seen many changes over the years, but it’s had a gamecock on the side since 1969 and that’s been paired with a block C since 1975. The colors have changed since then, including an unfortunate use of camouflage in 2011, but the current crisp, white helmet with the unique logo is the best in the school’s history, and among the best in college football.

Those helmets are so great because they use the great Carolina logo. The unique nickname leads to the use of the ornithological-correct gamecock. There’s no goofy cartoon here, and not some generic logo that could have been designed by some 15 year old on his MacBook Pro. Add in the use of the collegiate block C and it’s a classic logo that should never be altered. Besides, the logo was a centerpiece of an MZone classic from the deep past.

Fight songTheFighting Gamecocks Lead The Way. This is one of the fastest tempos for a fight song that KYF has heard and it sounds like a fight song that would be written for a Broadway musical. And for good reason – the original tune, Step to the Rear, was written for the musical How Now, Dow Jones. The song was adapted as the new SC fight song in the late 1960s by former football coach and athletic director Paul Dietzel. He wrote the lyrics to the new song, no doubt cashing in on royalties every time the song is played. The lyrics are generic at best and lame at worst.

Hey, Let's give a cheer, Carolina is here,
The Fighting Gamecocks lead the way.

Who gives a care, If the going gets tough,
And when it is rough, that's when the 'Cocks get going.

Hail to our colors of garnet and Black,
In Carolina pride have we.

So, Go Gamecocks Go - FIGHT!
Drive for the goal - FIGHT!
USC will win today - GO COCKS!
So, let's give a cheer, Carolina is here.
The Fighting Gamecocks All The Way!

It’s unclear why the original fight song, Carolina Let Your Voices Ring was changed by Dietzel. The song, though unspectacular, is clearly better than The Fighting Gamecocks Lead The Way. The natural inclination for an ol’ Yankee like KYF was to assume there were some politically incorrect lyrics in Carolina Let Your Voices Ring, but that’s not the case, and the song is still played as part of the band’s football pre-game show.

Carolina, Let your voices ring, to you we sing our praises high
Ring out! Sing out! On to victory! Forever fight we'll do or die
Carolina, Fight with all your might, let all unite in proud acclaim
Then battle on together, one and all forever
Fight, we've got to win the game, Rah! Rah! Rah!
Garnet & Black we raise, Gamecocks forever praise
So fight for Carolina, Cheer for Carolina, Hail to our U.S.C.
We cheer forever U.S.C.!

So here’s a song with a better tune and better lyrics and you change it for something from Broadway with lyrics written by your football coach? It doesn’t make sense. Besides, how successful can you expect your teams to be when your fight song is a Broadway tune? KYF has to wonder if some marketing guys thought it would create great synergy. We wouldn’t be surprised if Dave Brandon is in touch with Andrew Lloyd Weber right now about changing The Victors.

Academics – According to the most recent U. S. News rankingof America's Best Colleges, South Carolina languishes at 115th, which ties them with four schools, including Oregon. This ranking would put them at the bottom of the Big Ten well behind current cellar-dweller Nebraska (#101), and marks South Carolina as – by far – the worst academic institution to play Michigan this season. But the Gamecocks don’t care about that - they’re ranked 9th in the 14-team Southeast Conference, and well behind in-state rival Clemson (#68).

Athletics – South Carolina has been a bit of a nomad regarding conference affiliation. The football and basketball teams were part of the Southern Conference from 1922 until 1953 when the Gamecocks became a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. But too many recruiting disputes led USC to leave the conference and play as an independent starting in 1971. Football remained independent while the rest of the teams joined the Metro Conference in 1983. Finally, in 1991 Carolina joined the Southeast Conference when it expanded to 12 schools.

No matter which conference they’re competing in, South Carolina has had surprisingly little success. The school offers 19 varsity sports (Michigan has 27), but the Gamecocks can only claim three national championships in any sport. The 2002 women’s track and field team was the first Gamecock championship team, followed by back to back national titles for the baseball team in 2010 and 2011. And, no, KYF doesn’t count national titles in women’s equestrian. Even conference titles are scarce. The football team has never won the SEC and has won just one conference title in its history (1969, ACC) though its years as an independent may have limited this number. The men’s basketball team has one SEC championship (1997) and has only made eight NCAA tournaments. The two NIT titles are no longer impressive to Michigan fans. Baseball is, by far, the most successful team at South Carolina, having won those national titles, along with three SEC titles in the past 12 years, to go along with 11 College World Series appearances which include four runner-up finishes.

The football team was under .500 for their history until a couple of years ago, and has only won as many as nine games five times (including the past three seasons). The Gamecocks play in 80,250 seat Williams-Brice stadium, which resembles one of those baseball cookie-cutter stadiums built in the early ‘70s, but displays one of the loudest crowds on Saturdays.

Despite all of the baseball success, there haven’t been that many major leaguers who wore the Garnet and Black. The most well-known is former Met Mookie Wilson. The basketball team has sent only 22 players to the NBA, with former Nugget Alex English being the most successful. The football team has had 11 first round picks, including the #1 overall, Heisman winner George Rogers in 1981. Sterling Sharpe is probably the most successful Gamecock in the NFL, along with current Falcon defensive end John Abraham.

Famous alums – For a school with such a long history, South Carolina’s list of famous alumni is disappointing. They did corner the market on blond newsreaders in the ‘90s, with Rita Cosby, Leeza Gibbons, and Van Earl Wright all being Gamecocks. All four members of the band Hootie and the Blowfish attended the university which might have been cool in 1994 but not so much today. Not only was that Hootie not the only Hootie to have attended SC, but he’s not even the only famous Hootie. William “Hootie” Johnson, the former chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club is an SC alum, as is Robert McNair, owner of the NFL’s Houston Texans.

The list also includes plenty of local politicians, including plenty of congressmen, senators, and governors, but, alas, no U.S.Presidents.

The Game – The end to this uneventful season takes place in a generic bowl against a solid, but bland team. No wonder there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm for this bowl game compared to last year. This year’s Michigan team is still hard to read, even after 12 games. They have little difficulty with teams that aren’t as good as they are. But they haven’t beaten a good team all year, and have shown a propensity to cough up the football – and the game – against those better teams. The poor coaching performance against Ohio still resonates, and is a concern going up against a much better squad.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas & Merry Holidays from the MZone!

Even if you're dreaming of a white Christmas, we'd like to add some Maize and Blue to that.

Merry Christmas.

Happy Holidays.

Go Blue!

(pic via U-M's Facebook page, video courtesy of the U-M Alumni Association)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Bowl But New Streets in C-bus

Sorry for the light posting.  Just trying to wrap up everything for the end of the year.  Ah, real life.

Thankfully, our pal Surrounded in Columbus is always good for a nugget or four from deep behind enemy lines.  Today he sent the picture below with the following email:

Most people would be disappointed to be 12-0 & staying home.  They're not most people.

No word yet on when Tressel Boned Us But We Still Hoisted Him on Our Shoulders Like Morons Lane is going up.

Friday, November 30, 2012

2012 Ohio State Bowl Game T-Shirts

Get 'em while they last!

(HT: SiC. He wasn't sure of original creator of this little piece of brilliance as it arrived in his inbox. So if you know, let us know and we'll pass it on)

UPDATE: U-M QB-to-be Shane Morris tweeted this after the M/OSU game.  Again, don't know if he's creator, but it's the earliest version of the joke I can find.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

And you wonder how it starts...

Found all these vids post M/OSU game.  Never too young to start teaching kids to be classy fans. 

Don't you just love how mom literally bribed the kid above with some kind of treat, like she's training a puppy? Good job, mom.

So when they grow up, they can become this guy (yes, there's a "payoff" to his video at the end)...


Saturday, November 24, 2012

OSU Healing Picture If Al Borges Ran the MZone

I'm going to put in the same effort for this healing picture that Al Borges put into calling the 2nd half.  Why should I try harder?  Hell, I don't even get paid for this.

MZone Exclusive: U-M Football Team Arriving in Columbus

How bad is it for the Wolverines when they arrive in Columbus?  Check out this exclusive video of Michigan's football team pulling up to the Horseshoe:

And yes, Harrison Ford is on the U-M staff this season.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Know Your Foe: Ohio 2012

It's finally here:  Meeechigan vs Ohio State. Maize and Blue vs Scarlet and Gray.  The greatest rivalry in all of college football.  A showdown so special that not even Jim Delany can screw it up, try as he might.

Tomorrow marks the 109th edition of The Game.  Last year, Michigan beat Ohio for the first time since 2003 (although Ohio hasn't beaten Michigan in a game that's still in the record books since 2009 thanks to the exploits of Cheaty McSweatervest) and Michigan holds a 58-44-6 overall advantage in the series.  But that you know, what you didn't know about the angry mob of f-bomb aficionados from That School in Ohio is found below - in the final regular season edition of Know Your Foe, fergodssake.

1870: The last year they didn't have
to vacate some of their wins
OSU: Where even the book on
their seal is blank.  O-H!
History - The school was founded as THE Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870 as a land grant institution.  Later that year, the first group of 24 students, including three women, started attending classes (while probably wearing "Fuck Michigan" shirts).  Like most land-grant schools of the era, an internal battle was fought to determine the mission of the school. On one side was the "narrow gauge" crowd, looking to teach subjects strictly related to agriculture and mechanical functions. On the other side was the "broad gauge" crowd looking for a more diversified curriculum that included liberal arts and sciences. As was the case in almost all of these land grant battles, the “broad gauge” side eventually won. In 1878, in light of an expanded focus, the college permanently changed its name to Ohio State University.

But that wasn't the only battle for OSU, because the school was also under fire from other schools within the state of Ohio. Both Miami University and Ohio University were considered more prestigious institutions at the time -- and they were justifiably upset to not be selected as THE state university and the recipient of government allocations. Former U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes lobbied hard for monies for Tosu, mocked the other schools, and basically browbeat the state legislature to give the new institution a prominent position above Miami and OU. In the end, the state legislature settled the issue by declaring Ohio State as the only school that would be allowed to offer doctoral degrees. Miami and Ohio would be limited to Bachelor and Masters Programs.  This also established the proud Tosu trend of bullies named Hayes bringing their school glory.

Location - Columbus, Ohio.  The city - named after the lost explorer - is the capitol and largest in the state of Ohio. Many folks are surprised to learn that C-bus is the biggest because the cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati are more well known, home to major league sports teams, and not the center of evil in the known universe.  According to Benny's 2007 KYF, Columbus has kept its largest city in Ohio title by bullying the few surrounding suburbs into annexation in exchange for sewer and water service that the city controls (thus making Michigan fans who call the city a sewer not too far off).

Nickname -  The Buckeye is the official state tree and a creative term of endearment for the pioneers on the Ohio frontier.  Apparently, one of the first acts of the original settlers was to cut one of these stinky trees down and somehow this led to calling themselves buckeyes ever since. The leaves appear in a five-leaf cluster, and the fruit (nut) resembles the eye of a deer, thus the name: buck-eye.  It’s poisonous to humans, horses, cattle, and coaches as it apparently causes them to punch opposing players and lie to the NCAA.

Coincidentally, there is a city in the U.S. named Buckeye, though it's in Arizona, not Ohio.

Mascot - In 1965, Ohio State students Ray Bourhis and Sally Huber decided Ohio State needed a “game day” mascot and persuaded the athletic council to study the matter. At the time, mascots were commonly live animals brought into the stadium or arena. A buck deer was contemplated but that idea was eventually rejected given the impossible logistics of keeping a deer calm in a large crowd (even a deer can only hear so many f-bombs before losing its shit).

Instead, they went with a 40-pound paper-maché buckeye nut which was worn over the head and torso, with legs sticking out.  They named him Brutus Buckeye. He made his initial appearance at the 1965 homecoming football game against Minnesota. The heavy costume did not last long and it was soon replaced by a more permanent and durable fiberglass shell. Sometime during the 1970’s they added a baseball cap to the bucknut with limbs. Today Brutus looks like something out of a muppet nightmare, frightens anyone he comes in contact with, angers other mascots into an uncontrollable rage and causes still others to do this on YouTube.

Thing-Atop-A-Donut-Shop Brutus...Lonely Brutus...Asshole Frat Guy Brutus

Colors - Scarlet and Gray. The official colors were selected by three students in 1878. The reasoning for the combination was that they were a “pleasing combination” and weren’t being used by any other college. The original selection of orange and black was shot down when the students discovered that Princeton used those colors. This was the closest Ohio State has ever come to being confused with Princeton.

Logo/Helmet - The primary athletic Ohio State logo from 1957 to 1987 was a simple, yet enduring block “O”. Since 1987 they have added a more modern “Ohio State” arched through the middle. They have a ton of secondary logos, the most common combining the classic “O” with a buckeye leaf and nut.

One should be careful, however, not to confuse the official school logo with their now-more-well-know logo, The Buckstache.

Normally, the Buckeyes have their distinctive silver bullet helmet design.  It had been unchanged since 1968 until Nike got involved and OSU whored-out The Game with "special" and "Pro-Combat" uniforms the last couple years, including tomorrow.  They also love to award their little pot-leaf Buckeye Leaf helmet stickers.  The design was "originally drawn in 1950 by alum and comic strip artist Milton Caniff and was intended to represent the buckeye tree as a symbol for strength and sturdiness of all Ohio State students.  The first Buckeye leaf decal appeared on the helmets of the 1967 OSU football team and are still given to players today for execution of an exceptional play on the field." They're now trademarked by the school.

Fight Song - In 1915, OSU student William A. Dougherty, Jr., set out to write the perfect fight song for his school. Dougherty felt that something more exciting was needed for pep rallies and football games than the sad melancholy Carmen Ohio (which sounds like something the students would sing in Dead Poets Society).  Thus, Across the Field was born.  It debuted on October 16, 1915 against Illinois and has not stopped playing since (although it is important to note that they had to wait another 4 years before they could play it during a win against Michigan).

While this is the main fight song, Buckeye Battle Cry is played after touchdowns.  Fan favorite Hang on Sloopy (NOT Snoopy) is played every home game, and no mention of anything to do with the Ohio State music would be complete without a mention of Script O-lie-o Ohio in which their marching band boldly steps onto the field and performs a move they initially learned from the Michigan Marching Band.

As much as it pains us to say it, KYF thinks OSU's fight song and Battle Cry are top notch.  And if you've ever been in the 'Shoe when Hang on Sloopy plays, it's pretty darn cool.  Okay, enough compliments.  Let's take a look at OSU academics.

Mila Kunis is a Tosu fan?
Academics - According to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, OSU is #56, down from #55 last  year, tied with Noreastern (the school, not the storms).  But they did rank 16th (down from 8th last year.  Oh, sad face) in U.S. News' list of  "Up-and-Coming" Schools, tied with NC State, VCU and Biola University.  So from everybody here at the MZone, congrats and good luck with that, you Buckeye up and comers! 

Athletics - Few schools have the athletic tradition of Ohio State. They currently field 36 varsity teams and are one of only three universities (Michigan and Cal-Berkeley being the others) to have won national championships in the big three sports (football, men's basketball, and baseball).

In 2007, Sports Illustrated nicknamed Ohio State's athletic program as being "The Program" due to the unsurpassed facilities, unparalleled amount of men's and women's sport teams, their success, and the financial support of an impressive fan base."  Gee, after The Downfall, I wonder if they'd still say that today?  

Exceptional former athletes at Ohio State include Olympic Gold Medalist and Dude Who Made Hitler Eat Crow Jesse Owens, NBA greats John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas, college basketball coaching legend and chair-thrower Bobby Knight, and golf superstar Jack Nicklaus (attended, did not graduate).

Football - It is in football that most people recognize and associate Ohio State. They’ve won five recognized national championships, including most recently the 2002 crown (due to a PI flag thrown about as long after the play as it took you to read KYF thus far). They’ve won 34 Big Ten titles (a number I didn't have to update after last years KYF due to their season being wiped away). They have a combined seven Heisman Trophies including the only two-time winner: Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975.  They have produced many NFL stars and college and pro football Hall of Famers. Famous names you might recognize include Jim Otis, Jack Tatum, Eddie George, Chris Spielman, Orlando Pace, and Cris Carter. Recent NFL first round draft picks include Chris "Beanie" Wells, Malcom Jenkins, Vernon Gholston, Anthony Gonzales, and Teddy Ginn Jr.

However, Ohio State is football probably most well known as a place that once-great coaches eventually are forced out in disgrace.  The two most iconic coaches in the school's history met such a fate: Woody Hayes for punching a Clemson football player after he intercepted Art Schlichter;  and Jim Tressel who "forgot" to tell his bosses, oh, 642 times about his players associating with shady characters, selling merchandise and lying to the NCAA.  Naturally then, Ohio State is going to honor Tressel this Saturday as he is rumored to be taking the field with the rest of the 2002 Buckeye National Championship team*.

Famous Alums - As you would expect, Ohio State has a long and somewhat impressive list of famous alums. They have many successful CEOs and political leaders. They have produced two Nobel Peace prize winners and have accumulated 10 Pulitzers. Recognizable names include former UofM President Harlan Hatcher, Tuskegee Airmen Squadron Commander Harold Brown, WWII Medal of Honor winner Robert Scott, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center co-founder Charles Kettering, Goosebumps author RL Stine, Windex inventor Harry Drackett, Shoney’s founder Alex Schoenbaum, ESPN SportsCenter director Vince Doria, Actress Patricia Heaton, annoying comedian Richard Lewis, Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox, Ric Ocasek from The Cars, country singer Dwight Yoakim, Baseball Hall of Fame sportscaster Jack Buck, and the co-founder of Wikipedia Larry Sanger. They also provided an education to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. By far the most humorous and ironic name I find on this list is Teflon inventor Roy Plunkett which is probably why it took so long for folks to finally realize the truth about Tressel.

As much as Michigan fans don't want to admit it, Bo Schembechler has a graduate degree from Ohio State. From his coaching days under Woody, he also has a pair of those little gold-pants charms they give out for beating Michigan (but never tried to sell his on eBay).

KYF counted at least four NASA astronauts, there may be more. And although the state of Ohio has produced eight US Presidents (William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren Harding) -- none of them attended or graduated from Ohio State.  But they are an "Up and Coming" school.  So who knows what the future holds (although if these Buckeye fans are an indication, it ain't good).

The Game - Last year, Michigan got the monkey off its back, beating Ohio State for the first time since 2003.  Even still, KYF thinks it's actually more important for Michigan to win The Game this year than Ohio State.  If the Bucks win, Michigan's victory last year - at home against one of the weaker teams in recent OSU memory - will feel like an aberration.  A one-off to the streak* started under The Vest*.  But if Michigan can come into the Shoe and defeat Urban's undefeated team, then I think we could be one step closer to a new, back and forth, Ten Year War.  Because (unfortunately), I don't see U-M running off a Cooper-esque string of victories against Urban.  But you never know.

Sadly, KYF doesn't believe such a string will start tomorrow, with the difference being the home field:  

Michigan - 20
Ohio State -24

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving... And Beat Ohio!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from the MZone!

Now, eat your turkey, hug Nana and get your focus back on The Game.  To help you do that, here are a couple of our favorite wallpapers that our pal Andy (@SemperBlue88 on Twitter) put together last year.





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

OSU Band to Spell "O-lie-o" in Honor of Tressel

(From MZone wire reports) Columbus, OH - Ohio State is honoring its 2002 National Champion* football team this Saturday during the Michigan game and rumors are swirling that their former head coach Jim Tressel will join them on the field.

In an MZone exclusive, we have obtained this picture of the formation the band will spell out as a tribute to their old coach if Tressel is indeed on the field:

Fan Film Breakdown: We were watching OSU football when we heard the gunshots

At the beginning of the season before the Alabama game, we started a new series here on the MZone called Fan Film Breakdown which we described this way:

When players and coaches want to learn about their next opponent, they watch and break down game film, studying it for clues.  But what if you want to learn about a team's fanbase? 

In an effort to help you, the MZone reader, better know the fans of our opponents each week, today we are starting a new feature here called Fan Film Breakdown.  In a nutshell, we scour YouTube for videos posted by fans of Michigan's next opponent, then break them down like coaches in order to give you insight into those fans.  Sure, it may sound simple, but it takes a keen blogger's eye to really "see the fanbase."

It was a hit with our readers and we couldn't wait to do the next one.  But there was just one teeny, tiny problem: content.  We quickly discovered that very few fan bases put the necessary asshattery online that's needed to sustain a series like this.  I mean, you don't find a whole hell of a lot of Air Force fans doing stupid shit in a double-wide then posting it to YouTube.

So the series went dormant - until now.  Because, thankfully, this is Ohio State week.  And they put all their stupid shit online.  Heck, the MZone might not exist if they didn't.

Thus, we present to you the delayed-but-worth-the-wait next installment of Fan Film Breakdown: Ohio State.

CLIP #1: O-H...I-Shit, Hit The Ground!

Yes, if there was ever :17 seconds that perfectly summed up Ohio State's fanbase, this is it.  In fact, if we'd made a parody OSU fan video, it wouldn't have been this good.


-- Gunfire apparently gets a Buckeye fan to stop watching the game (although, to be fair based on the above video, we can only say with certainty that this happens when it's someone else doing the firing and not the Buckeye fan himself)
-- If your car runs into the porch, just leave it there


-- "We were watching football...the Ohio State football game... and we heard a couple gunshots...so we just came out."

CLIP #2: Buckeye Potty Humor

How obsessed are Buckeye fans with Michigan?  We found almost as many vids of Tosu fans teaching their kids to and/or begging them to say something anti-Michigan (even ones like this one in which apparently a family friend or relative is doing it) as we did kids being goaded into saying "Go Bucks!"


-- Of course Dad is wearing a Terrelle Pryor jersey.  Natch.
-- It's hard to be a Buckeye badass when you're sitting in front of Laura Ashley print curtains
-- We couldn't agree more that in the bathroom next to the shitter is the perfect place to store Woody Hayes and all your other prized Buckeye memorabilia
-- Buckeye fans have no problem sticking their hands in the toilet (probably from all their janitorial work) but apparently don't feel the need to wash their hands afterwards
-- What is it with Ohio State fans and toilet issues?  No seriously.  This is a big problem with them.


-- "Woo hoo!  Poo on Blue, let's do this!"
-- "We need to have a target...for our poo poo.  This is a very special time in a Buckeye's life."  (Hey, you said it, not us.)

CLIP #3: OSU Upper Level Classes


-- Now you know why Tosu is where it is in the U.S. News and World Report college rankings
-- This constitutes grad level work at Tosu
-- We're just happy to see Brutus didn't stick his head in the one beaker like other OSU fans just because he saw yellow liquid (you'll understand in a minute)

CLIP #4: Get Naked If You Hate Michigan


-- Classy, aren't they?
-- If Woody Hayes spirit really was there, uh, we think we know where he was hiding


-- "Fuck Michigan! (EXTENDS MIDDLE FINGER) Fuck you! Wooooooo!"
--  "I have no clothes on right now, that's how much I hate Michigan." *

* Actually, that's not true.  You still have a bikini on.  So, to be honest, we kinda wish you had a little more hate in you.

CLIP #5: You look like the piss boy

Note: The clip is labeled "Browns fan" on YouTube, but check out the dude's shirt.  Yep, you guessed it.  

Now, watch on at your own risk as man is offered $450 to stick his head in a bucket of urine at a tailgate.  You have been warned.


-- Ohio State fans will do anything for money
-- This guy is married? 
-- So let me get this straight -- he took his shirt off?!  He's more worried about ruining his Ohio State shirt than STICKING HIS HEAD IN A BUCKET OF HUMAN URINE!  Oh...my...God.
-- The dude's boobs are almost as big as Mirror Lake Girl's above
--  That could be the grossest thing I've ever seen in my life.  I'm not kidding.  I should get at least $75 of that money for watching that in order to do this post. 
-- Why do I think that this still probably isn't the worst thing this dude has ever done.
-- On the positive side for this guy, before he dies of whatever disease(s) he caught, that $450 should be able to buy him some sweet-ass rims and curb feelers for his Camaro
-- Hand sanitizer?  Are you fucking kidding me?  You just stuck your head in a giant bucket of piss and you think HAND SANITIZER is going to make a difference?
-- How much you want to bet this asshole got in a fight inside the stadium with the guy sitting next to him because the other guy kept looking at Piss Boy and plugging his nose.  Can't you just hear it: "What the fuck you looking at, dick?!  Got a problem!?"  


-- "My wife will kill me." (not if everything you just caught doesn't first)

UPDATE: Can get more embarrassing/worse?  It can: Piss Boy is a police officerNo, he is. Click here. (HT: Dennis for the info) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Big Ten Logo Post-Rutgers

Yesterday, we brought you the new B1G logo after Maryland was added to the league.  But with new B1G teams popping up faster than another corner Starbucks, we knew that logo wouldn't last long.

And we were right.

Today Rutgers will join the league and friend of the MZone 5th and Long has obtained this exclusive sneak peak at the new B1G logo will look like (although it may change again tomorrow after Delany reaches into his burlap sack and pulls out another random name -- only if it's located near a bunch of TV sets, natch).

Big Ten New Pledge Meeting

Jim Delany stands next to an overhead projector:

JIM DELANY: Nebraska Cornhuskers.

A picture pops on the screen:

JIM DELANY:  All in favor?

Murmurs of agreement from the current Big Ten members.

PURDUE: We need the dues.

JIM DELANY: Good.  Nebraska is now a pledge to the Big Ten.  Next slide, please.

As Maryland's picture comes up: 

Boos, screams and looks of horror fill the room.

JIM DELANY: Just a minute!  Just a minute!  This is Maryland.  He's a legacy from the ACC.

More boos and shouts of disagreement.

Michigan AD Dave Brandon glances at OSU AD Gene Smith sitting next to him.

Straightening his "legacy v-neck sweater," Brandon stands and addresses the others:

DAVE BRANDON:  Okay, Maryland is a real loser.  That's true.  But let's just think back to when you guys got accepted to the Big Ten.

DAVE BRANDON: Sparty, you had an academic reputation just this side of Eastern Michigan.  And Ohio State here, everybody thought that the Buckeyes were brain damaged.  I myself was so superior, I asked Minnesota to play for a trophy in a rivalry game then beat them like 70 out of the first 75 times we played.  So Maryland is a total loser?  Let me tell you the story of another loser...

They all start throwing beer cans at Brandon.

(HT: phil for the awesome idea!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Big Ten Logo

Friend of the MZone, 5th and Long, has obtained this exclusive photo of the new Big Ten logo after today's announcement that Maryland is joining the conference.

We joke, but if Jim Delany knew it would add a couple more eyeballs to the B1G Network, he'd consider it.

Drunk Dialing with Jim Delany


A single light was still on: Jim Delany's


Empty beer cans litter Delany's desk as he picks up the phone and dials.  After several rings, a groggy female voice answers:


JIM DELANY: Hey, Missouri, what's up?

MISSOURI: Who is this?

JIM DELANY: It's Jim.  Jim Delany.

MISSOURI: What time is it?

JIM DELANY: I dunno.  Late.

MISSOURI: You really hurt me last time.  I thought maybe you and I had-- 

Missouri suddenly stops, not wanting Delany to hear the pain in her voice, nay -- in her soul.  She suddenly turns cold:

MISSOURI: What do you want?

JIM DELANY: Nothing.  I was just thinking about you.

MISSOURI: Well I'm seeing someone now.

JIM DELANY:  Yeah, I heard.  The SEC, right?  I was just calling to see if you're happy.  Because I heard he beats you.  Every weekend.  Bad.

MISSOURI (GETTING MAD): That's not true!

CLICK! The phone goes dead in Jim's ear. 


Delany finishes off the beer in his hand then quickly dials another number.  Another groggy voice answers:


Delany doesn't say anything.

LOUISVILLE: Jim, is that you?  I was hoping you'd call.

But Louisville is met with silence.

LOUISVILLE: Jim, if that's you, talk to me.  Please.  What do you want?  I'll do anythi--

CLICK!  Delany quickly slams down the phone and shakes his head: even I'm not that drunk.  Plus, I can do better than that, he thinks.  I'm fucking Jim Delany: Jim. Fucking. Delany.

He punches another number into the phone.  Waits.


JIM DELANY: Hey, baby, it's Jim Delany.  I--

TEXAS:  Who gave you my number?

JIM DELANY: Nebraska.

TEXAS: Look, Jim, we have nothing in common.  Okay?  Plus, you can't afford me.  Now please don't call me again.

Texas slams down the phone as Delany is met with a dial tone.

2:17 AM

A half-finished whiskey bottle now shares space on the desk with the beer cans.  Delany looks like absolute shit.  Eyes glassy.  As if half the teams in his league lost to MAC schools.  Or worse - like Indiana could somehow sneak into the B1G title game.  You know, like this:

Delany can barely dial.  Has to do it four or five times to get it right.  He hasn't been this fucked up since he tried to move the Michgian-Ohio State game to October.  Finally he gets the number right as another tired voice greets him:


JIM DELANY (NOW SLURRING HIS WORDS): Heyyyyy, S-- Sur-- (FINALLY GETTING IT OUT), Syracuse.  It's JD and I'm just sitting here with JB -- Jim Beam.

SYRACUSE:  JD?  Jim Delany!?

JIM DELANY: Fuckin' A.

SYRACUSE: I'm... Wow!  This is... Wow!

JIM DELANY:  I've had my eye on you forever.

SYRACUSE: You have?

JIM DELANY: 'Course.  We should get together.  Maybe go hang in the city.  With all the people and their cable-ready households.

SYRACUSE: You mean like Buffalo?


SYRACUSE: Uh... okay, but that's like four and a half hours away.


SYRACUSE: I live in Upstate New York.  Is that a problem?

JIM DELANY (MAKING HIS VOICE BREAK UP): What did you sa--? We ha-- a bad-- connectio--

CLICK! Delany slams down the phone.


He quickly dials another number.  Before the person can even say hello:

JIM DELANY:  Just give me one more chance.  One more.  I promise we can work it out!

NOTRE DAME:  Goddammit, Jim!  Stop calling me.  Remember the restraining order?!


NOTRE DAME: No, you listen to me for the last time -- we NEVER DATED.  We just hooked up.  And now we don't.  We're through.  Get. Over. It!

Notre Dame hangs up on Delany... who vomits into a nearby trashcan, all over an autographed picture from Danny Hope.

2:58 AM

Delany can barely hold up his head as he makes another call.  Then a gruff, deep voice answers:


JIM DELANY: It's Delany.

MARYLAND:  Big Ten Jim Delany?

JIM DELANY:  The one and only.

MARYLAND: Well, well, well.  And what can I do for you... BIG Jim?


Delany burps... and throws up in his mouth a little bit.  He quickly swallows it back down.

MARYLAND: Did you just vurp and swallow it?

Uh, oh: Busted.


MARYLAND: Me, too!

JIM DELANY:  See, we're a lot alike.  That's why I've been thinking about you.  Only you. 

MARYLAND: Don't lie to me.

JIM DELANY: Fine.  Wanna come over or what?

MARYLAND:  Well, I just got off the shitter, but I'm DTF.  Can you come pick me up?


MARYLAND: Never mind.  I'm good.  Let me just find my seatbelt extender.


She hangs up and Delany quickly dials one last number:


JIM DELANY: Maryland's coming over, you wanna join in?

RUTGERS: I'll be there in 10.

JIM DELANY: Awesome!

Big HT to 5th & Long for emailing us the idea!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Farewell Denard and Iowa Open Thread

It's not only Michigan's last home game of the 2012 season but, sadly, it's the last home game of one of the most electric players to ever don the winged helmet - Denard Robinson.

What a heck of a player and, from everything I've ever read or heard, an outstanding person.  I just hope he gets to play today, even if only for a ceremonial play or two in order to get the in-game send off he deserves.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Know Your Foe - Iowa 2012

Saturday is the last home game for Michigan's seniors who have gone through hell (the three seasons we will no longer mention) and back (returning Michigan to being Michigan). While U-M holds a 40-13-4 series record over the Hawkeyes, Iowa has won the previous three meetings. Last year, the Hawkeyes milked an early lead and got a favorable call at the end hung on in Iowa City. This year, 4-6 Iowa will have to win its last two games against ranked teams just to be bowl eligible. But that's not the info you're here to read.  This is: the latest and greatest edition of the MZone's KNOW YOUR FOE: Iowa 2012.

This looks like a made-up
seal for a soap opera
History – The University of Iowa was founded in 1847 - and still has the legal name of - the State University of Iowa. The official university web site claims that Iowa was the first public university to admit men and women on an equal basis. In 1868, the university established the first law school west of the Mississippi. In 1870, the university opened the first co-ed medical school, allowing all of the lawyers from the first western law school to sue both male and female physicians. Iowa was also the world's first university to accept creative work in theater, writing, music, and art on an equal basis with academic research. With people confusing "State University of Iowa" with Iowa State, the Board of Regents approved the usage of "University of Iowa" in 1964.

Location – Iowa City, Iowa. It’s the sixth largest city in Iowa, and was the first state capitol until 1857. The Old Capitol building remains and is a centerpiece of the Iowa campus. It’s tied with Stamford, Connecticut as the U.S. Metropolitan area with the highest percentage of adult’s holding a bachelor degree (44%). Much like so many of the locales that are home to Big Ten schools, Iowa City is a stereotypical college town. There’s a pedestrian mall that includes many of the town’s restaurants and bars, with a lively music scene. And it’s been ranked as the eighth most enlightened town by Utne Reader, and the tenth smartest place to live by Kiplinger’s. It’s also the home to the ACT, so if you don’t “test well” and your ACT score kept you out of the school you really wanted to go to, you have someone in Iowa City to blame. Because KYF is sure that your 18 had nothing to do with you getting drunk the night before the exam.

Nickname/Mascot – Hawkeyes, named for the state of Iowa which is known as the Hawkeye state - the same way that U of M is known as the Wolverines. But how did the state - and thus the university’s sports teams - get the name Hawkeyes? Well, that’s subject to a bit of debate. There’s no questioning that the efforts of two men, Judge David Rorer and James G. Edwards, were the driving force behind the adoption of the name. But the origin is still unclear. Wikipedia claims it’s a tribute to Chief Black Hawk, following the Black Hawk War of 1832. But the Iowa Athletics site maintains that it originally came from the novel, The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper. In the book, Hawkeye was the name bestowed on a white scout who hunted and lived with the Delaware Indians.

The university has a costumed Hawkeye, known as Herky, who has been a symbol of the university since 1948. The university had had gone through a number of mascots, including Burch, a black bear cub who lived under the football bleachers until he was found drowned in the Iowa River in 1910 (thankfully, KYF had an alibi). Herky was conceived by a journalism instructor and his name was selected based on a statewide contest and is supposed to be a shortened version of Hercules (so much for all that creative writing stuff). His first appearance at a football game came in 1959.

Colors/Logo/Fight Song – Black and Gold. But is it really gold? If I remember my Crayolas correctly, gold is what Purdue or Notre Dame wears. The “gold” on Iowa’s helmet is more of a corn yellow or, dare I say, maize. The colors have always been the same for Iowa, but the football uniforms purposely mimic those of the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Hayden Fry came to coach the Hawkeyes in 1979, his main task was to eradicate the atmosphere of suckness in the program – Iowa hadn’t had a winning season since 1960 before he arrived. Since Iowa had the same colors as the most dominant NFL team of the day, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Fry copied the wide stripe on the pants, and the black helmet with single yellow stripe. Whether it was the uniforms, or more likely his coaching ability and getting better players at Iowa, Fry turned around the Iowa program quickly and made it into one of the Big Ten’s best during his tenure.

The Iowa logo showed up at the same time as Fry, and the football team’s success since then has ensured that the logo will be around for a while. It’s actually a very clever design, consisting of four separate pieces to make up a hawk’s head. It’s not only the helmet logo, but is a symbol of all of the sports teams and the university itself. Just about any piece of Iowa memorabilia contains the logo.  Although we always kinda thought it looked like a certain cartoon character...

The Iowa Fight Song is rather generic, especially when compared to many of its Big Ten counterparts. The song only has 61 words, yet the word “Fight!” appears nine times. Even “Iowa” only shows up four times. Even the word “Rafters” shows up once, but that’s not surprising – this is a farming state.

You're supposed to be reading about
Iowa's academics. Shame on you.
Academics – Surprisingly, Iowa only rates as #72 on the U.S. News rankings of the nation's universities, tied with Big Ten cohort Sparty. KYF never would have imagined. The pride and joy of the University is probably the Writers’ Workshop. The Workshop is a two-year residency program which ultimately requires a creative thesis, usually a novel or a collection of stories, and its alumni have won a dozen Pulitzer Prizes with four graduates of the program having been named U.S. Poet Laureates. Oh sure, if Know Your Foe was in the hands of a Writers’ Workshop grad, it would be much more interesting.  But would you get pictures like the one to the right? (Like you're even reading KYF at this point)

Athletics – As mentioned above, Hayden Fry breathed life into the moribund football program starting in the early ‘80s. Though only appearing in three Rose bowls since then (and losing them all), the Hawkeyes are a consistently tough Big Ten opponent (at least for Michigan of late). But wrestling is where Iowa really shines.  Under legendary coach Dan Gable, the Hawkweyes won 20 national and 31 Big Ten titles. This included nine straight national titles from ’78 through ’86. So even though the basketball team has had some success, and the trampoline was invented by university members George Nissen and Larry Griswold around 1935, when you’re talking Iowa athletics, you’re talking wrestling.

Famous alums – While not a super-impressive list, they pick up points for being able to claim Tom Brokaw, John Irving, Tennessee Williams, Eddie Robinson and Gene Wilder (who was married to Michigan alum Gilda Radner). But they have to lose some points for having Tom Arnold, Ashton Kutcher, and Lou Holtz as alumni. And though she didn’t attend school in Iowa City, current U of M President Mary Sue Coleman held the same post and the University of Iowa prior to moving to Ann Arbor.

The Game – Saturday will be the last time Michigan great Denard Robinson suits up in the Big House. He likely won't play, but the Michigan fans (who show up on time) will be able to give him the tremendous send off he deserves. It's likely to be the only real exciting part of the day. Michigan should roll a truly bad Iowa team that's fortunate to even have the four wins on their record.